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bush in 30 seconds
January 5, 2004 10:02 AM   Subscribe

bush in 30 seconds the finalists are in ... i wish bradley had given it a shot. [ quicktime required ]
posted by specialk420 (39 comments total)

 
or nando ...
posted by specialk420 at 10:06 AM on January 5, 2004


Some excellent pieces here, but too many have been forced into oversimplification in order to cram everything they need to say into 30 seconds. But, such is the way of political advertising in this country: If there's no soundbite, there's no effectiveness.

That being said, my personal favorite is the first in the list, showing the cute kids working menial labor.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:11 AM on January 5, 2004


I agree that there are only 3 or 4 that don't oversimplify or harp on the iraq stuff (which is probably a bad message now that saddam is captured).

I downloaded all 15 after watching them. Anyone know how to make a torrent file so I can share this with others? It seems dumb they don't offer it as a single download.
posted by mathowie at 10:20 AM on January 5, 2004


"in my country" hits hard ... i dont know if it is effective for the broader audience though.
posted by specialk420 at 10:29 AM on January 5, 2004


Most seem a bit...unpolished. Amatuer voice actors, etc. I too liked the one with the kids.
posted by jmgorman at 10:33 AM on January 5, 2004


I've been trying to think about WHY I (also) liked the first one on the list more than others. I was worried that it was for superficial reasons (it's clearly the one that had the best camera equipment, etc.. it's just produced better)...

Maybe I'm just rationalizing here, but I think the reason I liked it best was because it was still hard hitting (though maybe not ranked #1 in hard hitting), but it only tried to get across ONE message, rather than trying to cram 10 political facts all into 30 seconds... In doing so, 30 seconds was spent on one message instead of 3 seconds on each of 10...

I really liked "Desktop" too, maybe just because I'm a geek... "imagine" was up there as well.. very well done and said a lot... Was anyone else freaked out by how much makeup that really young girl had at the end of that commercial though? Eww.
posted by twiggy at 10:42 AM on January 5, 2004


I wish there were a PSYOP entry. Seems they have no problem with biting the hand that feeds them.
posted by funkbrain at 10:43 AM on January 5, 2004


I thought "in my country" was good, up untill the last line, which I think the guy kind of hammed up. also "The united states of america" is a mouthfull. I would simply have said, "because you live here", or something.

So far, I really like the one with the little kids. It uses kids and humor to really blunt the "shrillness" of the whole thing, without amping-down the actual message. I think the whole "bush liked, people died" thing is getting a little overplayed.
posted by delmoi at 10:44 AM on January 5, 2004


Maybe I'm just rationalizing here, but I think the reason I liked it best was because it was still hard hitting (though maybe not ranked #1 in hard hitting), but it only tried to get across ONE message, rather than trying to cram 10 political facts all into 30 seconds... In doing so, 30 seconds was spent on one message instead of 3 seconds on each of 10...

Well, I think that one has about the blandest thing you possibly say about the bush admin, so it dosn't excite me very much

I really liked "Desktop" too, maybe just because I'm a geek...

I hated desktop because I hate macs!
posted by delmoi at 10:50 AM on January 5, 2004


hrm, where are the orgionals? I never got around to seeing 'em.
posted by delmoi at 10:56 AM on January 5, 2004


I have to say PSYOP has some of the worst character animation I've ever seen.
posted by delmoi at 11:11 AM on January 5, 2004


Well, I think that one has about the blandest thing you possibly say about the bush admin, so it doesn't excite me very much

I'm divided on this point: on one hand, yes, you could certainly say the Bush administration has done worse things than squander the budget surplus. On the other hand, calling the man a liar and placing the blame for our war dead on his shoulders might do more to alienate voters than to attract them. I think the deficit issue has some real traction, particularly among those fiscal conservatives who voted for Perot when he ran against Bush I.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:14 AM on January 5, 2004


MoveOnFilter
posted by tirade at 11:25 AM on January 5, 2004


Why not now present All the Dem candidates, ten seconds each for total 30 seconds....

if i were a candidate, i would repeat every time i could a simple mantra/
Elect Bush and have your son get drafted. The War? We won, now let Iraq rule itself. I will bring your son home.
posted by Postroad at 11:37 AM on January 5, 2004


mr_roboto: yeah. That's why I liked "teaching our children" or whatever it was called. The other one that used little kids. I didn't like the "bush lied, people died" over and over again ads either.

Simply saying "big debt" isn't enough though, you have to go on to how it's being caused by tax cuts, and how we are still lacking services, etc.
posted by delmoi at 11:42 AM on January 5, 2004


Here are all the files, if you want them in one convenient 50Mb download.
posted by mathowie at 11:42 AM on January 5, 2004


A simpler script:

Tracking shot: Osama bin Lauden and two aids walking throught a rocky landscape falling about laughing

AID
It's unbelievable

Zoom in to close up of

OSAMA
Bush is doing our work for us

Pull back to

AID 2
Praise Allah

They walk on, still laughing.

Creative commons copyright.
posted by donfactor at 12:13 PM on January 5, 2004


Didn't anyone apart from me like the 'Leave No Billionaire Behind' ad? I thought it was funny and got the point across. 'In My Country' could be great if they filmed it a bit more professionally. As they stand now, the billionaire ad and the kids at work one are my two favourites.

Incidentally, what's with getting kids to do the voiceovers for these ads? Does it really make them more effective?
posted by adrianhon at 12:17 PM on January 5, 2004


Bush gets too much credit for all of this. I'm mildly annoyed that the spots chastise him as the root of all the problems. It is pretty difficult to make any changes to the role of government without the majority approval of 535 other elected individuals.
posted by pedantic at 12:20 PM on January 5, 2004


Postroad, "now let Iraq rule itself. I will bring your son home" ... it's like saying "no new taxes". It's going to take some time.
/OT
posted by tomplus2 at 12:23 PM on January 5, 2004


Wasn't the ACLU running something very similar to In My Country as a banner ad on Salon not to long ago?

I think that Army of One could be a very effective spot, targeted to the right audience. Bush & Co's horrific record on military and veteran's spending is one of the great underreported stories in America today, and I think that it, like the deficit, could be the issue that turns the tide. Although I'm a Dean supporter, this is an issue that I wish, in particular, John Kerry would spend more time talking about.

Wake Up America won't work -- no one wants to think of themselves as the person sleeping.

Thanks, Matt, for posting the Zip file!


posted by anastasiav at 12:43 PM on January 5, 2004


Personally I like the big piano BOWOONGs during the 'In My Country'. That was pretty funny.
posted by xmutex at 12:51 PM on January 5, 2004


1st one all the way. excellent!
posted by mrplab at 1:20 PM on January 5, 2004


Wake Up America won't work -- no one wants to think of themselves as the person sleeping

Agreed. Not to mention that "Wake up Germany!" (Deutschland erwache!) has the unfortunate status of being a chief Nazi slogan. I'm sure some people would be eager to point that out if the ad won, as in: "MoveOn loves recycled Nazi slogans!")
posted by Ljubljana at 1:36 PM on January 5, 2004


if the ad won

Well, the ADL is already protesting against an ad that didn't win, because it compared Bush with Hitler. I wonder what part of "open ad contest" is so hard to understand?
posted by Eloquence at 2:06 PM on January 5, 2004


The Hitler ads are here, if anyone is curious to see them.
posted by Ljubljana at 3:35 PM on January 5, 2004


I thought he lied they died is a pretty emotional one, with Imagine and bankrupt. remember this ad is going to get one 30sec airing (if i remember correct) so it has to really appeal on an emotional level else it's just background noise. i like the first one, it's maybe the cleverest one but not sure if its effective enough.
posted by carfilhiot at 4:00 PM on January 5, 2004


or harp on the iraq stuff (which is probably a bad message now that saddam is captured).

Yes, because the fact that they captured Saddam makes all the death and destruction based on lies pretty much irrelevant. If the American people actually wouldn't respond to ads because they harp on Iraq now that Saddam is captured, you guys and girls are getting everything you deserve with Bush.
posted by The God Complex at 4:35 PM on January 5, 2004


The problem with this whole campaign is that it is — by its very definition — a negative one. Bashing Bush is not going to win voters over to the progressive agenda that MoveOn allegedly supports. Negative campaigning can of course be very effective, but it is not the way to win this particular election in my mind.

I really think the ads would be more effective (and in keeping with MoveOn's progressive ideals) if some alternatives to the BushCo vision were shown. Where's the optimism in any of these — deeply depressing — ads?
posted by cbrody at 5:49 PM on January 5, 2004


cbrody: MoveOn is not allowed by law to support any particular candidate. That's why they run anti-Bush ads.
posted by Eloquence at 5:55 PM on January 5, 2004


Eloquence, I appreciate that, and as MoveOn is not a political party there's no specific platform for them to promote. That's the real problem: the Democrats have no agreed platform and are therefore thoroughly useless at getting across any positive alternatives to the BushCo way. All we see is nine puny candidates and their huge egos tilting at each other.

That said, I find "In my country" and "Wake up America" the hardest hitting ads.
posted by cbrody at 6:24 PM on January 5, 2004


One thing I think about these is that they are polical ads- which are pretty much by definition cheesy. But here's my best list:

He lied. They died.- I still don't think the "He lied" bit is good politics, but I think the idea of showing images of the dead soldiers is powerful to many viewers. Might piss off their relatives, though. ( Personally, I think he just read intelligence briefings with a "religious" viewpoint. How many other leaders said that Iraq had N/B/C wearpons? Since they all pretty much did, it's not much of a complaint. )

Wake Up America- Probably not professional enough, but I think it's well one.

Kids as workers- Very well done, but where did the $1 trillion figure come from?

Army of One- Good points. Could have been done better.

Bush as Robin Hood - Catchy. Good points. Problem is having him dressed up as Robin Hood ( steal from the rich, give to the poor ) is a confusing image.

Hitler=Bush movies - unless they allowed for a completely free posting of any movies, this is a big hit on their credibility for allow these to be viewed on their site. (I know they weren't part of the finalists.)

Anyway, thanks a lot for the zip, Matt.

Oh, one problem I have with the "My Country" vid - final shot is of UN building mostly. Leaves the video way open to a response- "Yeah, your country - the United Nations..."
posted by superchris at 7:08 PM on January 5, 2004


One question: are these the final versions, actually to be screened as they are? Or will the winner(s) have a chance to re-shoot their ads with a suitable budget and (additional) professional expertise? There are a lot of good ideas in these ads, as well as in the ones I reviewed (none of which made it to the final stage) but almost all need some polish to make them truly effective.

One aim of the competition was to make the connection between "ordinary" citizen movie-makers and the political process, but Americans are so used to super-slick imagery that anything less may well be seen as "amateurish".
posted by cbrody at 7:24 PM on January 5, 2004


Eloquence: I thought MoveOn was going to endorse a specific Democrat?
posted by turbodog at 8:24 PM on January 5, 2004


The question really is do you want to make a nice movie, or do you want to actually influence people's thinking? (The point of all TV ads.) Child's Pay is beautifully filmed, but it's far too subtle to be noticed by 98% of anyone who might happen to see it on TV. And the deficit is just not that compelling an issue to organize around. I also think that all the Iraq ads are far too focused on one issue; sure he lied to 'trick' us into the war, but that's not news. Presidents do that all the time, throughout our history -- "Remember the Maine," Gulf of Tonkien, etc. etc. They like to distract people from domestic bad news by going overseas and kicking some little country around.

The real issues are a) Bush lies about most everything, not just the Iraq war, and b) he's seriously trying to divide up the nation to sell the pieces to the people who pay for him, while shredding the Constitution at the same time. It's hard in 30 seconds to get across how blatantly he says he's for veterans, children, the environment, then goes right back to the office and works hard to take away their budget allotments.

I thought the most effective ad by far, considering the possible viewing audience, was Imagine, which covers a variety of issues and has a nice 'rainbow' cast. I also liked the polygraph one, the one where the kids told what kind of (bad) presidents they would be, and In My Country. That ad also benefits from the kind of stereotyping that TV usually promotes.

Desktop really is the most eloquent at describing the current situation, but not an effective TV ad. And no one here has mentioned -- isn't it funny in the first place, with America in need of all kinds of help, that people's response is "Hey, let's devote a lot of effort to making a TV ad." As if that will fix things.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:49 PM on January 5, 2004


pedantic Bush gets too much credit for all of this. I'm mildly annoyed that the spots chastise him as the root of all the problems. It is pretty difficult to make any changes to the role of government without the majority approval of 535 other elected individuals.

This isn't how power structures work. To affect a human organization, you must affect its leader/figurehead. Leaders lead, followers follow, and there are vastly more followers than leaders.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:08 PM on January 5, 2004


BTW, thanks for the .zip, Matt - but why have MoveOn.org left it up to you to do that? They can only lose by making it difficult to download, save and disseminate their ads.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:10 PM on January 5, 2004


A great one that didnt make it, "Brother Can You Spare A Job" by Greg Saunders and Tom Neely.

All the final winners are pretty fantastic, however. I really enjoyed watching all of them. All managed to say something significant, seems.
posted by Peter H at 9:31 AM on January 6, 2004


The winners have been announced.
posted by homunculus at 11:23 AM on January 13, 2004


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